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Man dies after jumping from 10th Avenue Bridge

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A man died after jumping from the 10th Avenue Bridge in Minneapolis around 9 a.m. Thursday, the Pioneer Press reported.

Police don't believe the man, whose identity has not been released, was a University of Minnesota student, said University of Minnesota police Lt. Dave Wilske.

At least three witnesses on the bridge said they saw the man sitting on the edge of the railing, push his body off the ledge and fall just before 9 a.m., the Minnesota Daily reported.

The man, 54, landed on hard dirt about 100 feet from the water on the east side of the Mississippi River. The man's briefcase found on the bridge indicated he worked at Hennepin County Medical Center.

Soldiers return home to Minnesota

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More than 200 soldiers from the National Guard will be returning to Minnesota on Wednesday, the Pioneer Press reported.

The Guard's First Brigade Combat Team 34th Infantry Division - or better known as the Red Bulls - are arriving home after a year's deployment. They will be the second group to come back to Minnesota after a year in Kuwait.

The group of 219 soldiers is among nearly 3,000 Red Bulls who will be returning to Minnesota over the next few weeks. They represent the state's largest single deployment since World War II, according to the Pioneer Press. The thousands of soldiers were deployed to either Kuwait or Afghanistan, the Minnesota Daily reported.

They will arrive throughout the day in Pine City, Cloquet, Duluth, Hibbing, Anoka, St. Cloud, Brainerd, Bloomington and elsewhere throughout the state.

Mayor Rybak plans for north Minneapolis

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A shooting this week in north Minneapolis is part of a citywide uptick in violent crime. Police say young gang members are driving some of the violence, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

Minneapolis police are investigating the shooting death of Jody Patzner Jr., 22, who was killed earlier this week on the city's north side.

Mayor R.T. Rybak made it a point to mention the jump in violent crime in his State of the City address Wednesday. He called the shooting of Patzner a "horrible incident," and said the city cannot become complacent when it comes to fighting crime.

Using the Capri Theater in north Minneapolis as his backdrop, Rybak called for improvements in public safety, housing, jobs, transit and opportunities for young people in the north Minneapolis neighborhoods, the Minnesota Daily reported.

Rybak said that if north Minneapolis grows, the entire region will benefit.

"This city of compassion is what it is today because we believe we are all in this together," Rybak said. "And if one neighbor, or one neighborhood, is challenged, we all step up to level the playing field."

Gary Tinsley dies at 22

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Gary Tinsley, a University of Minnesota senior and former Gophers linebacker, was found dead early Friday morning in Roy Wilkins Hall, the Minnesota Daily reported.

University police received a call at about 7:40 a.m. Friday from a roommate who found Tinsley, 22, unresponsive in his room. University police Chief Greg Hestness told the Minnesota Daily there were no immediate signs of foul play, but the police are treating it as a suspicious death.

After the news of his death spread through campus Friday, students held a candlelight vigil in his memory.

Minnesota's athletic department announced Monday it has established the Gary Tinsley Memorial Fund in remembrance of Tinsley, ESPN reported.

According to a release, donations to the fund will help Tinsley's family with funeral expenses and help Minnesota players with their travel expenses to attend Tinsley's funeral in Florida.

Tinsley, a Jacksonville, Fla., native, was on his way to graduating in May with a business marketing and education degree but he will be awarded his degree posthumously.

A four-year member of the Gophers football team, Tinsley was a force on defense. He started every game in his past two seasons at middle linebacker and led the team in tackles his junior season with 90. In his final season with the Gophers this past fall, he finished second on the team in tackles with 87 and recorded nine tackles-for-loss and four sacks, the Minnesota Daily said.

Minneapolis man carged in Victoria's Secret thefts

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A 45-year-old Minneapolis man is facing one felony count of aggravated theft after a string of thefts at the Victoria's Secret in Uptown, where he allegedly took over $2,000 in bras, underwear and perfume, the Minnesota Daily reported.

According to the criminal complaint, the manager of the Hennepin Avenue store called police on Thursday to report that a man had just stolen a large number of bras from the store, Fox 9 said.

KARE 11 said officers were called to the store on March 29 and told by the store manager that a man had just walked out after stealing a large number of bras. They quickly spotted the suspect walking down Lake Street and arrested 45-year-old Elbert Lee Wilkins.

According to the Minnesota Daily, Wilkins theft from the incident totaled $682 and is accused of other reported thefts in the area in recent days.

Charging documents accuse Wilkins of also stealing $121.47 worth of curling irons from the CVS Pharmacy on Lake Street on March 15, and stealing $374 worth of perfume and $312.50 in underwear from Victoria's Secret on March 22. He is also accused in another bra theft of $681.

If convicted, Wilkins may spend up to five years behind bars and could also be subject to a $10,000 fine.

University nursing dean cited for reprisal

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University of Minnesota Nursing Dean Connie Delaney faces a state human rights finding of discrimination and retaliation for firing an employee who filed an internal workplace complaint, the Star Tribune reported.

Delaney is already under university reprimand for a hiring infraction for hiring a former student for a faculty position while he held a full-time job in Iowa. The Star Tribune also reported in March that Delaney used her department budget to give her brother a job and pay consulting fees to two people with ties to her school's fundraising arm. Provost Karen Hanson found that Delaney violated university policy and stripped her of hiring authority for positions of 30 hours a week or more until June 2013.

The probable cause ruling, issued in February by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, centers on an executive assistant whose job was terminated by Delaney in 2010 after she went to the university's Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Office (EOAA) with allegations of unfair employment practices. The ruling could result in state mediation or litigation, the Minnesota Daily reported.

The Department of Human Rights investigation found that within weeks of learning about the complaint Delaney decided not to renew the employee's appointment.

Kevin Lindsey, state Human Rights Commissioner, also issued a probable cause finding of disability discrimination in the case. Evidence indicated that the worker performed "very well" in her job and had physical ailments, including multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome and an anxiety disorder that qualified her as a disabled person, the Star Tribune reported.

The disability finding was based on evidence that the dean was indifferent to the accommodation needs of her aide and was unhappy when she took time off for doctor's appointments. The Human Rights Department concluded that the worker's disabilities also were "likely factors" in her ouster, the memorandum said.

Delaney has written to student, faculty and external supporters and expressed regret for employment contracts. She has also accepted full responsibility for non-compliance in the hiring of her former student. "I regret that, in these times, we have not been able to maintain our focus on the incredibly positive trajectory that we have been on as a school, but have needed to stop to look backwards," Delaney wrote to students.

Minnesota's first crossword puzzle championship

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Minnesota's first crossword puzzle championship was held Friday night, at the James J. Hill Reference Library in downtown St. Paul, with competitors vying to be the fastest grid-filler in the Gopher State, the Pioneer Press reported.

The contest featured four original crossword puzzles specially created for the tournament by Times crossword editor Will Shortz. Scoring was based on accuracy and speed, the Associated Press reported.

The Minnesota Crossword Tournament was sponsored by the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library. According to the Pioneer Press, the group was inspired to set up the event after watching a 2006 documentary, "Wordplay," about the brainy, competitive people, such as Bill Clinton and Jon Stewart, who are addicted to crosswords and the surprisingly intense drama that the national crossword puzzle tournament can create.

It took less than four minutes for the finalists - Victor Barocas, a University of Minnesota biomedical engineering professor from St. Paul; Amy Ketterling, an administrative assistant from Minneapolis; and Andrew Ries, a professional crossword-puzzle creator from St. Cloud, Minn. - to finish. Barocas then went on to win the tournament.

Graduate student workers deny union

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Graduate student workers at the University of Minnesota voted against forming a union, the Minnesota Daily reported.

According to the Daily, about 62 percent of voters decided against forming the union. About 68 percent of the 4,400 eligible graduate student workers cast votes during last week's election.

For the past two years, graduate student workers have been organizing on campus. They collected signatures from more than 30 percent of graduate workers in order to put the union to a vote.

This was the state's largest public union election in years and the fourth try at unionizing the U's graduate assistants since 1990. The last two elections, in 1999 and 2005, were closer calls, the Star Tribune reported.

According to the Star Tribune, University administrators said in a statement that they were "pleased" with the outcome of the election. They said the vote "allows the colleges continued flexibility to offer packages that are most appropriate for their individual employee groups."

Voter ID bill moves forward

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The Minnesota Senate's rules committee approved the proposed voter ID law in a 72-62 vote hours after the House passed a companion measure Wednesday, the Minnesota Daily reported.

If the bill passes the Senate floor on Friday, a conference committee would need to resolve the two versions, Majority Leader Dave Senjem told The Pioneer Press.

According to the Daily, if both chambers approve the bill, the amendment would be on November's ballot, asking voters whether a photo ID should be required at polling places. Minnesota would provide eligible voters with free IDs.

Republicans argue the amendment is meant to combat voter fraud, but Democrats argue voters like college students, the elderly and the homeless would be disenfranchised by the law.

Several states have enacted voter photo ID laws since the start of 2011 including Texas, Wisconsin, Kansas and Pennsylvania, though the U.S. Justice Department has blocked the Texas law and a state judge has blocked the Wisconsin law, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Zero snow emergencies for the first time in 25 years

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The city of Minneapolis announced Wednesday that there were no snow emergencies declared during the traditional plowing season, KARE 11 reported. The lack of snow emergencies made the winter the first time in 25 years none were called in.

According to KARE 11, the last snow emergency-free winter in Minneapolis was back in 1986-87, when only 16 inches of snow fell on the the city.

This winter, Minneapolis saw 22 inches of snow, but there is no official amount of snowfall that would automatically trigger a snow emergency, the Minnesota Daily reported.

According to the Daily, city officials use factors such as expected future snowfall and previous accumulation when making the decision. Last year, the city called a record eight snow emergencies.

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